Wednesday, July 4, 2007


In his Thiruvaimozhi [7.3] Nammalwar praises one of the important Kshetrams in Navathirupati, Thenthirupperai. The Lord here is Sri Makaranedunkuzhikkadar, graces the devotees in a sitting posture. In front of Him is the Utsava Moorthy with four Consorts- Sridevi, Bhoodevi, Sri Thirupperai Nachiar and Sri Kuzhaikkada Nachiar. Here the Lord revealed His quality Soundaryam. It means the beauty of the lord in every limb and every organ. Nammalwar describes the immeasurable beauty in ten hymns. It is an interesting story, how this place got this name. The Lord had more love for Bhoodevi, one of His two Consorts. Though Sridevi was given a place on His chest, Sridevi felt that the Lord was more inclined to Bhoodevi. Once She revealed this to sage Durvasa. The sage agreed to resolve this and one day he went to meet Bhoodevi. She did not look at him for a couple of minutes and so Durvasa got angry. He cursed that Bhoodevi’s body also should look like Sridevi’s. Sridevi’s body was fair, while Bhoodevi had a dark green complexion. The Dark Lord was attracted by this hue of Bhoodevi. With the curse of Durvasa, Bhoodevi was afraid She will lose that skin texture and so might lose the Lord’s love. So she requested the sage to suggest a method to get Her original color restored. Durvasa advised Her to meditate in this Kshetram and solve Her problem. Bhoodevi thus arrived here and meditated. Thiru in Tamil means Sri and indicates Sridevi. Beram means body and so the name Thiruberam means the body of Sri or MahaLakshmi. Since Bhoodevi got the body of Sridevi, the name Thirupperai in Tamil means Bhoodevi, Who took the body of Sridevi. Thus the place came to be known as Thirupperai. Why this is called Then [South] Thirupperai? Since near Srirangam there is a place called Thiruppernagar, to distinguish, this Kshetram is known as Thenthirupperai. When Bhoodevi was meditating here, one day She saw two earrings appearing in the Pushkarini [temple pond]. They were shaped like a makara – s type of fish. The pushkarini got the name Matsya pushkarini. When Bhoodevi got these earrings and thinking as to whom she could adorn, the Lord appeared before Her and demanded that He deserved to be adorned with those earrings and accordingly Bhoodevi presented them to the Lord. The Lord thus got this name here. The Soundaryam or beauty of the Lord fascinated Nammalwar and so by surrendering our senses in this beauty, we could control them. We will now see the 68th sloka:

tasmad yasya maha-baho
nigrhitani sarvasah
tasya prajna pratisthita

"Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence."

Tasmad is therefore. The mind goes after the senses. With that condition we can never have atman darshan. Only by disciplining the mind we can get all advantages. By thinking about God, the mind gets controlled. So we cannot expect to control the mind on our own, but only with His help. Therefore, yasya- that atman which is trying to control the mind and organs, which are dragged by materialistic desires, can control the mind with His help only. In such an atman the intellect or buddhi gets well established and he qualifies to do gyana yoga. Here we may have a doubt. To get atman darshan we should concentrate on the atman only. Then why we are asked to devote ourselves in God? Devoting our mind on our own atman is not that superior. Also, atman does not have a form or qualities to imbibe or worship. Mind will find it very difficult to concentrate on a formless and blank entity. Whereas God has many attributes and forms and temples. This makes it easier for the mind to devote. Why so many forms for God and why so many temples and Avatars? Because our tastes differ and to satisfy every taste so many forms, temples, etc. have been arranged by our elders. God also takes so many Avatars to satisfy the varied tastes of devotees. Absorbed by the beauty of the Lord here, Alwar says that one by one all his senses were lost to Him and the mind also surrendered to him. We also by involving us in this enchanting beauty of the Lord can control the organs and mind and have atman darshan.

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